How to Prove Massage Abuse in California
When most people enter a massage studio in California, they expect to walk out with lowered stress and a relaxed state of mind. Unfortunately, this industry is rife with misconduct and questionable hiring decisions, potentially leaving clients vulnerable to all kinds of harm. From acts of prostitution to sexual harassment, a surprising number of offenses occur behind the closed doors of massage studios across the state. For many victims in the Sunshine State, sexual abuse at massage parlors proves to be a life-altering event.
If you find yourself in this situation, your main goal is to prove that the misconduct actually occurred in the first place. This can prove to be a bit of a challenge, especially since massage studios lack video surveillance footage. While this is true in the hallways and lobbies, it is especially true in treatment rooms. Since abuse almost always occurs in the treatment rooms, this can lead to “he said, she said” situations in the courtroom. That being said, video surveillance footage is not the only kind of evidence you can use in court. An experienced sexual abuse attorney in California can get quite creative as they help you seek justice.
So, how do you prove massage abuse?
The Burden of Proof
As with virtually any type of legal process in the United States, the burden of proof lies squarely on the shoulders of the accuser, not the accused. This means that it is not required for the alleged abuser to prove their innocence. If you fail to present convincing evidence, they get to walk free. In other words, evidence is important when it comes to sexual abuse accusations, and you will need to back up your allegations.
With all that said, the burden of proof in a sexual abuse lawsuit may not be quite as strict as a criminal case. If someone is facing a murder charge, for example, the evidence must prove their guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This means that there must be no doubt whatsoever that the accused did in fact commit the crime. In a sexual abuse lawsuit, however, there must be a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that it is more likely than not that the accused did in fact commit the offense. In other words, you only need to prove that there is a 51% likelihood that you were abused.
The Types of Evidence You May Use
While more forgiving than the “beyond reasonable doubt” standard, a “preponderance of evidence” is still difficult to achieve. If it is simply a matter of your word against theirs, the court will inevitably come to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence that the abuse occurred.
As previously mentioned, video evidence is typically not viable for these kinds of offenses. Video cameras are not allowed in the treatment rooms due to concerns about voyeurism. Sometimes, police departments put surveillance cameras in massage clinics as part of an undercover investigation. However, the authorities may run into issues when they try to actually use this evidence in court, as judges may throw it out to protect innocent people who were caught on camera. Of course, you cannot count on the fact that police officers were coincidentally monitoring the parlor that you visited.
Another potential strategy is to establish that many other victims experienced the same treatment at the hands of your abuser. When similar stories are presented in court, it starts to become obvious that your abuser treated you the same way.
You may also draw attention to your abuser’s criminal record. In many cases, massage specialists lose their licenses in one state and simply move to a new state, resuming their work without any consequences. They may have been reprimanded for sexual harassment or abuse in the past. Perhaps they have a history of domestic abuse or workplace harassment. Whatever the case may be, this evidence can help you convince the court that your abuser likely committed the offense.
In some cases, abusers might actually incriminate themselves with statements made online or in person. For example, a massage therapist might send texts to their friends, bragging about how they abused a client. Or maybe they admitted their acts to another worker, who can then be called upon as a witness. The best attorneys can track down this evidence during the pre-trial “discovery” phase of the lawsuit using top-notch investigative skills.
The truth is that many massage parlors throughout the United States have very questionable hiring practices. Some do not really conduct thorough background checks, allowing people with a history of abuse to continue interacting with innocent clients. You can also attack the professionalism of the spa in many different ways. For example, you might show that there was inadequate supervision or that there is evidence of prostitution at the spa. All of these factors can destroy the credibility of a spa, making it more likely that abuse occurred on their premises.
These are just a few examples of evidence that might be useful in your massage abuse lawsuit, and your specific strategy will depend on your unique situation. There may be different kinds of evidence that apply to your case that are not listed here. The only way to move forward effectively is to get in touch with a qualified attorney.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
If you’ve been searching for a qualified, experienced massage abuse attorney in California, look no further than Mary Alexander & Associates. With offices conveniently located in San Francisco and Los Angeles, we are ready and waiting to assist you as you hold your abusers accountable. While finding evidence for abuse isn’t always easy, this step might be easier than you think – especially if you work with attorneys who have dealt with these kinds of cases before. The main priority is to get in touch with us as soon as possible and book a consultation. Evidence may become lost or inaccessible if too much time passes, and important witnesses can be difficult to track down. Reach out today and get started with an effective action plan.